We can safely say that it has been six years since our market peaked in 2005. Many of us have endured bumps and bruises while seeking to remain viable and striving for the holy grail of any business in a capitalist society, specifically, to do our jobs admirably and achieve profitability. It’s more essential than ever to stick to the basics. Borrowing a theme from one of my many yoga teachers, I suggest a quick review of three basic principles of good personal and business health: attitude, alignment and action.
Attitude. Today, this is a tough one. How many times can you dust yourself off after putting forth your best effort and failing to achieve the goal you have set for yourself? It is not easy. If you are an entrepreneur by choice — not by default — then you are naturally predisposed to being optimistic and upbeat. Your glass is always half full, never half empty. In business, the supply and demand chain is tilted against your efforts; there are too few jobs and too many competitors vying for the same project.
Your prospect is nervous, full of self-doubt accompanied by lofty plans and a dismal budget. Perhaps worst of all, he seeks multiple bids and believes he deserves top-quality labor, material and service while paying a project rate that is set by the low bidder.
Perhaps your attitude is also affected by a new condition brought on by the present economy: bid fatigue and burnout. Until recently, I was energized and happy when I received a plan to bid. Now, not so much. Undoubtedly, custom building begins with a plan to bid, but an all-time low conversion rate coupled with the knowledge of the time and expense required to secure proposals from trades and suppliers all contribute to the feelings associated with bid fatigue.
The sales methodologies I have used for combating these feelings include advising the prospect that to do a complete and thorough bid proposal will require them to share some of my cost to create a qualified detailed bid. We summarize these costs, objectives and scope of work in our Professional Service Agreement document.
Alignment. In my yoga classes, the teacher stresses alignment of your body core with the extremities by energizing from the middle and strengthening the muscles that are being used for the pose. The correlation between alignment of body parts in a yoga pose and the alignment of your business practices and objectives is the key element to connecting to your action plan.
If your attitude and goals are aligned, then your action plan can be written with relative ease.
Do you have a written plan of action to deal with the economic obstacles you are navigating daily? Are you feeling worn down by the constant barrage of challenges that invariably arise like a modern day vampire looking to suck the lifeblood from your business and checking account? Have you noticed the difficulty of remaining positive when the primary draw on your finances are expenses that are not balanced by adequate income?
Unfortunately, the state of our industry demands we confront these challenges, and the responsibilities we have undertaken as business owners demand we succeed. Lean on your employees, colleagues and trades for the support and understanding necessary to continue. Strengthen your relationships with existing clients, and open your communication to prospects so they too can become part of the solution and not part of the problem. Today is a good day to ask for help. Offer help and be a team leader that rallies your troops while reinforcing your own plan to remain positive, aligned and focused on success. I wish you the best.
Jay Grant, president of Grant Homes, a residential design/build firm in Mendham, N.J., focuses on building luxury custom homes and renovations/additions. He is the recipient of more than 20 industry awards including best website for granthomesusa.com. Grant is available for business consulting. Send email to